Wednesday, March 26, 2008

A Few of My New Favorite Things no particular order....

  • Popcorn, candy, and Coke at the movie (a treat I couldn't afford in the US)
  • Once a month cooking (yesterday we finished a month's worth of meals and put them in the freezer...thanks MJ for some yummy recipes)
  • Seeing new emails from old friends in my inbox
  • Being better able to communicate in Spanish....even though I have a long way to go
  • My bi-weekly (more or less) coffee times with new friends
  • Being spite of all the accompanying maladies
  • Snuggling with my honey on cool Bolivian nights
  • Being 40-something
  • Seeing new emails from new friends in my inbox
  • Our Vontage phone
  • Being a missionary
  • Pomegranates
  • Hearing Joe study the Bible with the teens
  • Making lesson plans
  • Getting packages in the mail
  • Spending more time with my hubby
  • Having 'grown up' conversations with my teenaged boys
  • Long pant PJs
  • Giving to those who ask
  • Teaching Hope to read
  • Hearing my kids speak in Spanish
  • Reading friends' blogs
  • Building relationships with new friends
  • Listening to contemporary Christian music while cooking
  • Colored pens
  • Seeing my kids make new friends

Tuesday, March 25, 2008


Lately we've been seriously thinking about putting our house in Virginia on the market. As you all know the real estate market right now stinks so it's a bad time to sell. All this has me thinking about investing. Our house has been an investment. One that hopefully will make money. We invested an amount of money a few years back with hopes of a future payoff. That money will be our retirement (although Joe says our children are our retirement policy) since as a full time minister Joe opted out of Social Security a few years back so we won't receive any benefits even if it is still around by then.

The simple mathematical facts are that for a big return you need either a long amount of time or a high interest rate. (I=R x T....interest=rate x time). Thinking on this makes me realize that the best investments we've ever made are the ones that were invested for that's a long period of time. Think about that. The money that we've invested in the Kingdom of God will continue to grow and reap rewards long after we've passed from this life. And on top of that think of the rate that God says that He gives. In Matthew 19:29 Jesus says "And everyone who has forsaken (left/given up/sacrificed) houses, or brothers, or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands for My name's sake shall receive 100 times as much, and shall inherit eternal life." God gives a great interest rate (100 times is 10,000 percent interest) compounded over the longest period of time (eternity). You just can't beat that! In Malachi God tells us to test Him and see that He will open the windows of heaven and pour out more blessings than we can hold. In Luke we are told that when we give God it will be given back to us....but more....good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over. But, it's a limited time offer. We can only invest while we live here on earth. That's all we're promised. Once we die our opportunity to invest in the Kingdom of God is over. John Wesley said "I judge all things only by the price they shall gain in eternity."

Let me tell you a quick story that not too many people know (until now). A few years back we felt led by God to invest a large sum of money in the kingdom of God through work of a missionary in Africa. God provided the money through the sale of our house in Colorado (we had moved to Virginia only a few weeks before). We sat our kiddos down and told them that we were going to use the money we made on the sale of our house to put down on another house (in Virginia) and to buy a new desperately needed van. However, God had laid it on our hearts to invest the money a different something that would pay bigger dividends. So, what that meant to them was that we wouldn't get a house right then (instead, we lived in a townhouse with 7 kids sharing one bedroom) and that they would have to go on sharing seatbelts in our old van. Our sweet little 9 year old at the time Jake said something I'll never forget. He said "So what? We have to share a room or keep our old van, but hundreds of Muslims will have a chance to hear about how much God loves them and they can become Christians and live in heaven forever!" Now that's perspective. I'm teary eyed just remembering it.

I love the verse in 2 Corinthians 9 that when speaking about our investments in God's kingdom says "God is able to make all grace abound to you, that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance" but the best part is the ending....the reason He gives us an abundance...."for every good deed". He gives us more so that we can invest more.

God has been good to us and blessed so many of our earthly investments. But I can tell you that the investments that are our best ones are the ones that we've made in the kingdom of God. Those are the ones I think on with the most fondness. Those are the ones I'm the most proud of. Those are the ones I want my children to mimic. Those are the only investments I've ever made that have absolutely no risk. I hope to spend the rest of the time I have left investing in the Kingdom of God.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

What a Day!!

Last Tuesday started out so calmly. I've begun taking Tuesdays off language school to give me more time to help the kiddos with their home-schooling not to mention that I'm forty-something and pregnant and don't have the same amount of energy that I once enjoyed. So, I'm was reveling in my first Tuesday off language school and getting my 'stuff' done. I was sitting at my desk working on long overdue correspondence and lesson plans. Hope and Patience were right behind me in the little cubby where my desk is. All of a sudden Patience banged her head on one of the various weird-angled alcoves that stick out of the walls at our house. (Remember all the strange angles?) Anyway, Hope was one foot closer than me and so she saw the damage first and started streaming bloody murder. Patience was pouring blood from her forehead. It was the deepest wound I've seen on one of my children....and unfortunately I've seen plenty....too many.

I tried to lay her back to access the damage but she was bleeding so badly that her eye sockets were filling with blood causing her to scream even more. I yelled down to Joe to come up and bring some towels. Thankfully he had just walked in the door from school. He took one look at her and got on the phone. He asked our friends to meet us at the hospital to help with translation if we needed it. We took her directly to the ER. While I was changing my blood-soaked shirt for another one and Joe was loading her into the car he sent Benjamin to fetch the camera and took the above pic. As we left Hope was still screaming certain that her sister was going to die.

At the hospital they saw the severity of her wound and ushered us straight back to a bed in the ER where they cleaned the wound and ordered x-rays to see if her skull was fractured. (Thankfully it wasn't.) The doc on call said because of the seriousness of the wound he wanted a plastic surgeon to sew her up. However both of the plastic surgeons at that hospital were in surgery. So they sent us to yet another hospital.

When we arrived at the ER at the second hospital there was no one there. I don't mean no patients, I mean no one. No nurse. No doc. No administrator. Nada. We knocked three different times, then our friend went to find someone. The nurse he found said knock again. We did. She watched. Sure enough, she said, there was no one there. (Duh!) An ER with no personnel. The nurse finally tracked down someone and Patience was seen. The plastic surgeon was wonderful and did a great job on Patience's stitches which are in the middle of her forehead. She had to put in 3 layers of stitches since the wound was so deep (I told you it was!). She got a total of 25 stitches....19 on the inside and 6 on the outside. YIKES!!

Through it all Paish was a trooper. They didn't even have to knock her out! We took her out for an ice cream when it all began to sink in to me what had happened. God was good and gave us all strength throughout the entire ordeal, but I'm so glad that this Tuesday has been much far.....of course the day's not over yet! :>)

P.S. After we left for the hospital Jake took Hope aside and calmed her down by showing her all his stitch scars as well as those of his brothers and sister. Hope then realized that Patience would be okay. What a good brother!!

P.P.S. This incident put us over the 50% mark. Now, 6 out of our 10 children have had stitches....60%!

Monday, March 17, 2008

To Clear Things Up

I'm not sure I was clear about the travel to the US and the baby stuff. Here's what I was asking for:

I'm going to the US in May for a short visit. While I'm there I hope to pick up some baby things that we just can't get here. (There are lots of things we can get here, but some that we can't.) So, I was asking what sorts of things do you all consider "can't-live-without-baby-items". If the items are things that I can't get here, I hope to find them when I'm there in the States and pack them in a suitcase to bring back to Coch with me. I hope this is a bit more clear.

Thanks to all of you who have replied. I'm still working on my list, so if you haven't responded or if you have already responded, but think of something else, please let me know.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

A Question for You All

I'm planning a trip back to the States before mid-June if possible. I have a dilemma and need your help. Here's a question that is not theoretical...If you were going to have a baby and you had only one suitcase in which to put baby 'stuff' what would you put in it? What are the items that you used the most/can't live without with your babies (from in utero until about 10 months old)? Remember I have limited space.


Here's another email from my the post below this one first.

Hey Denise,

There was something else I thought would be great to add to the blog. The day we went to the dump for the church service was pretty amazing. We pulled in and there were about 50 kids waiting in a line to get into the school for the service. They pretty much came all by themselves. There was a little boy about 2 sitting in the dirt completely naked, just waiting to go to church. So, in we go and in the midst of the despair of this place the kids are singing "Jesus loves me this I know" and clapping with the music. It was like being taken out of the dump for 2 hours for all of them. They sang, smiled, heard the gospel and were given homemade bread and juice. God shined there in that darkness and it was amazing to see. I thought this might be something to share with your readers.


Friday, March 7, 2008

Letter from a Friend

I have a friend and supporter in the U.S. who just went on her first week long missions trip to another South American country. I prayed for her while she was gone and emailed her to ask her how the trip went. I asked her permission to post her response here since I think it gives good insight. I thought it might challenge some of you to go on mission trips as well. You are always welcome here.


It's so good to hear from you. The trip was really good, but hard. Having never been out of the country before and never seeing poverty like that in person took some getting used to--The dump (La Chureca) if you want to google it to see pictures, was something I'm still processing. That kids live there is surreal. But, God is doing some great things. A church service actually started in the dump on Saturdays and we had the chance to participate. Also, there is a huge endeavor going on right now- a building project. Eight group homes are being built and it's a beautiful place. They are going to take out 64 of the most at risk kids in the dump and move them here. They will go to school, and be given the opportunity for a life out of the dump. It's called Villa Esperanza and if you go to and click on the Nicaragua link it tells all about it, We toured it and what a haven it will be. The first 8 girls are scheduled to be taken out of the dump in April. There is alot of prostitution that goes on between the girls and the garbage truck drivers. In exchange for first dibs at the new garbage coming in, families offer their daughters to the men. It's pretty awful. But the kids....they were so amazing. Smiles that went on for days. Beautiful people. I had the opportunity to share my testimony with around 60-70 kids of all ages. We did sports evangelism and did teacher training for the dump teachers and an orphanage/school nearby.

Whatever romanticized thoughts I had about the mission field are much more realistic now. In my head I knew it must be "hard" but I only spent a week there and saw how tough (but great.) it can be.YOur obedience to the call into full time missions is such a testimony. WE continue to pray nightly for you all. THanks so much for asking and for praying for me.


Another New Favorite Quote

"Good things come to those who find it and shove it in their mouth."

----the rat on the newer Charlotte's Web movie

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

The Bucket List

Okay, time for some group participation on this blog. I recently saw the movie The Bucket List. It's about a couple of guys who discover they have terminal illnesses. They end up making a list of things they want to do before they 'kick the bucket' and then they set about doing the things on the list. So I want to know...what's on your bucket list? What do you want to do before you die?
Having a dream is one thing. Sharing it is another. Please consider sharing your dreams and goals on this blog. Who knows...maybe you will inspire someone to pause and do the same...and
ultimately maybe you will inspire yourself to achieve the goals you have written down! Some maybe deep and take a huge commitment. Some maybe spiritual. Others might be just something fun you've always wanted to try or somewhere you want to visit. There are no right or wrong answers. The more participation I get the better. After all I need amusement. I live in Bolivia for pity's sake.
Don't wait. Make and share your list now. I've had way too many friends pass on to the next life at too young of an age. In fact a few years back Joe and I had decided to take a cruise for our 20th wedding anniversary. Well during our 18th year of marriage we had three very good friends die. We decided, why wait? Let's go now. So we went for a cruise on our 18th wedding anniversary. It was so fun we went again on our 20th and our 23rd too. :>) Why not start working on accomplishing your bucket list now?

Just post it as a comment or send it to me by email if you'd rather. ( Thanks in advance for sharing and entertaining me.

Holy Mockamoly!!

I was sitting here diligently working on lesson plans (okay I should be working on lesson plans, but instead I was catching up on some old friends through their blogs). Anyway Patience just came up to me with a huge grin on her face and said "Look Mom it's a mockamoly!!! It's for you and me!". It was an avocado (palta) from the tree in our front yard. Of course she, like her mother, associates avocados with guacamole (mockamoly to her). I love to see the excitement in kids over the smallest of things. I want to be more like that. So, later she and I are going to 'tut' it and eat our 'mockamoly'. I can hardly wait. (Thankfully my new baby likes mockamoly too since I eat 2-3 times a week!)

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Silence of the Lambs

It's a bad title I know, but it's what I want to talk about. Not the book or the movie. Real silence of real lambs. God's lambs. Us. Silence so that we can hear the voice of the Shepherd.

Last Sunday we had our monthly Prayer Day with our SIM family here in Coch. Each month different home groups take responsibility for leading the event. This was our time and Joe and I volunteered to teach the youth. Joe's message to them was very inspiring....if not to them at least to me. :>) He spoke about the importance of being silent and still before God and just hearing from Him.

When you think about how much noise we all have in our, friends, tvs, ipods, radios, satellite radio for when there are no other radios signal, and cell phones just to name a few there is always an opportunity to hear music or to talk with someone or to listen to something. On top of that we are surrounded by visual noise...blogs, websites, advertising, billboards, magazines, junk mail, in stores, and on the web. It's getting harder and harder to go anywhere with out audio/visual input. There are TVs in restaurants, at airports, on planes, on cruise ships, and in malls. I've even seen them in restrooms and in line at Six Flags and Disney World for pity's sake. Like we need more input in those places!! Where/when can we 'get away'?

It seems that everyone is vying for our attention. From our kids to the Coca-Cola company. Why do we put so many things in our lives to keep silence from happening ? Why is it that it is so hard for us to be quiet? To sit in silence and not just talk to God, but listen to Him? Of course He speaks to us from His Word, but that's not what I'm talking about here. I'm talking about just being still and knowing that He is God. Just listening in silence and seeing if there is anything His Spirit wants to say to me. Silence is something that must be sought after and fought for in this day and age more than ever before I believe.

Think of how many times Jesus went to be alone with the Father. What do you think He did? Read His Bible? Well, obviously He did study and know the Bible, but he most likely didn't have any personal scrolls. He learned in the synagogue. Yet, how many times did Jesus say things like..."I only do what the Father is doing" or "The Son can do nothing of Himself, but does what He sees the Father doing" or "I only do the will of the One who sent me?" How did He know what the Father was doing? How did He know what God's will was? Sure He was God, but He was fully man as well. I believe that He knew what God's plan was because He spent time with the Father listening to Him in those times when we pulled away from the crowds. He listened to and was guided by the Spirit as well. He needed to get away from the busy-ness of this life in order to hear the Voice of the One who matters most. We must do the same.

It's too easy to stay busy in our loud, demanding worlds and not pull away in order to be still and know that He is God. When is the last time that you were quiet before God and just listened to see if He had anything He wants to say to you? Perhaps He will bring a Scripture to your mind. Maybe He'll convict you of a sin you need to confess and repent from. Maybe He'll bring to mind someone that you need to minister to or to forgive. I don't know. Ask Him.

Try this with me. Take a little time each day, more time one day a week, and an extended time once a year to pull away and listen. No talking. Just listening. It's easy for me to pour my heart out to God and talk to Him. It's much harder to listen to Him. I'm so easily distracted from listening to His voice. Perhaps Satan is afraid if I hear from God, I might actually act on it and God's will will be accomplished in my life.

There was one quote that Joe used in his lesson that I've been thinking on ever since. I'll end by sharing it with you: If someone were to follow me around for a week, would my life show that I am a person who is trying to listen to the voice of God?